The Jets’ search for a new general manager is starting to intensify. The team asked for permission to interview candidates Friday. And the NFL Network reported two men on that list: Eagles vice president of player personnel Joe Douglas and Bears assistant director of player personnel Champ Kelly.Both candidates have ties to Jets coach and acting GM Adam Gase.Douglas worked with Gase in 2015 with the Bears. Kelly worked with Gase in Denver from 2009-14 and with the Bears in 2015. Gase said Thursday that the Jets were in the very early stages of their general manager search, which is being led by CEO Christopher Johnson with help from Gase and other members of the Jets' front office.This is the first major step forward. And it's not exactly a surprising one. Gase said that he doesn't need to have a previous relationship with the next general manager. But after the way things soured between Gase and general manager Mike Maccagnan, who was fired May 15 after less than four months of working with Gase, it makes sense for the Jets to find someone who knows their coach.
Gase will obviously have a big influence in the search, as the Jets have clearly bought into his vision for the team's future. But Gase insisted that he's not looking for a GM who will grant his every roster wish. "I don’t really hang out with yes men," Gase said. "So if [the new GM is] somebody that I already know, then it’s probably somebody that’s not going to be a yes man, because I don’t associate myself with people like that."And it's unlikely that either Douglas or Kelly would be a puppet GM for Gase, because both candidates have impressive résumés that show they have the potential to construct a strong 53-man roster.Douglas is widely viewed as the front-runner for the job — his name surfaced as a possibility even before the Jets fired Maccagnan. He spent 16 seasons in the Ravens personnel department before moving to Chicago in 2015, where he was the director of college scouting. Douglas joined the Eagles in 2016 and played a key role in building the team that won the Super Bowl after the 2017 season.Shakeup: Gase says he had nothing to do with GM firing, Jets will be fineQuestions: Where do the Jets go now after firing GM Mike Maccagnan?